By Daniel Jackson
Over the last decade the increasingly excessive amount of money in football has been the subject of much fierce debate. However, the recent behaviour of Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez may well prove to be a definitive moment in how the power of money has truly affected the game.
The incident occurred in the Champions League group match between Bayern Munich and Manchester City when City manager Roberto Mancini attempted to make a substitution as he saw his side 2-0 down. Mancini initially replaced a disgruntled Edin Dzeko with midfielder Nigel De Jong before later turning to Carlos Tevez to bring him on. But Tevez simply refused to come on due to being unhappy about not being brought on earlier in place of Edin Dzeko. Eventually, powerless, Mancini had to accept that Carlos Tevez would not come on and play for his side.
Tevez’s future at Man Cityhad been the subject of much speculation for many months after the Argentine constantly expressed his discontent at not being allowed to exit the club to return to his homeland. But the incident in the Champions League match looks set to have finally granted him his wish. The bigger picture that comes out of this bizarre altercation is how football has reached a stage where the player has more power than the manager and the football club itself. Would a player living off pride as oppose to £200k a week feel so assured in being able to throw a tantrum and make a mockery of his manager and club?
Money is of course entirely responsible forManCity’s involvement in the Champions League in the first place. It was only three years ago when Man City were taken over by billionaire owners which has now led to the club striving for success at the highest level simply through those billions of pounds.
Chelsea were the first team to most noticeably go through a transition like this when they were bought by billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003 and have achieved numerous trophies as a result. This domination of spending power has inevitably intensified the competition in football at the top level but it has also created a rather confusing concept regarding where exactly the modern game is going when success can effectively be bought. FIFA have plans to bring in a system whereby clubs can only operate on the money that their revenue brings in but how exactly the system will work still remains relatively unclear.
The ‘beautiful game’ is changing in many ways but quite simply put; it is uncomfortable to think about where it is heading when a player feels he has the right to refuse to do what he gets paid millions of pounds to do – play football.